360MC CW2 – Evaluation

At the start of my 3rd year, I knew instantly that I wanted to create a short documentary. This is something that I want to go into after university so I thought creating a documentary for my FMP will add to my portfolio and give me the practice I need before I leave university. At the start of this process, I had two initial ideas, both of these ideas were character based documentaries. I have a passion for character based documentaries, as I believe it allows you to explore deeper into the character’s life, also there is always a grander narrative within these character based documentaries. In the summer holidays, I watched many different types of documentaries which had different styles, messages and genres. I considered creating a subject based documentary, however I decided to stick to my passion. I thought both of my ideas were strong however I believe that creating a documentary about Hector Pinkney has more potential in terms of story.

Initially I did have a lot of doubts about creating this documentary as I thought that it would not attract as many people as I would like it to. When pitching this idea to my lecturer Mez, she took a liking to it and suggested ideas to make it more appealing. She cleared up all my doubts about creating this documentary and I was excited to take it further. I then pitched it again in class, with a different lecturer. He gave me suggestion on how to change this idea and make it broader. I contemplated a lot about changing the documentary idea, however I decided to follow my heart and stick with the original idea that I had. This module has taught me that you should make the documentary you want to make and not what other people want you to make as it is important that you make something you are passionate about and that you can put all your efforts in.

Before starting this project my knowledge on Hector was limited, I knew what he did and the things that he has done however I did not know why he did this. I did not know his motivation to serve the community in the way that he does. I started conducting my primary research, I had set up a meeting with Hector and got him to talk about his past and what he has experienced. This was extremely beneficial in terms of me understanding his story better. I was also able to start my secondary research on the places, years, experiences and events that he talked about. This was extremely helpful as he gave me what I needed in order to take this project further. This made me realise that you need to know your documentary subject really well in order to create a documentary about them. It also taught me that you must build a strong relationship with the individuals in your documentary. I feel as though documentaries are all about trust, the individual must trust the filmmaker and must feel comfortable with them in order to share information about their life.

In terms of primary research, I created a survey on survey monkey and distributed over social media. This survey caught the attention of a person who created a page called “Handsworth community” on Facebook. He then messaged me and praised me for bringing up the questions that I did as he has been investigating the same questions. He offered to publicise my work, which I was very excited about. I truly believe that many people on the page will have an interest in my documentary as they are all from the Handsworth area. With this in mind I learnt that getting your project out there is really important, and creating a buzz around your project will be beneficial upon its release, you will have a guaranteed audience which is what every filmmaker want. Social media is extremely important connecting with different people. I recently joined LinkedIn where I found Hectors nephew, I discussed my idea with him and he is willing to be a part of the documentary. I realised that utilising social media whilst creating documentaries is a great tool in order to connect with different people around the world.

Using the primary information, I went on to conduct my secondary research on what I found out about Hector. This helped me greatly in terms of getting a better understanding of the story and gave me an idea of the kind of questions I want to ask during the interview process. I researched into “the dojo community project” which is the original project that Hector’s mother pursued. This was helpful as it gave me an understanding of when it all started, which will be the basis of my documentary. I appreciate this module as it has forced me to look at things that I never would have looked at. At the beginning of this process I was clueless about the concept and idea, however all this research has helped me immensely and made me realise how important research actually is when it comes to documentary filmmaking

The process has made me think on my feet which is something that I am not very good at, however I appreciate this, as this is a skill that I will need in order to work in the media industry. It forced me to get my project together fast and efficiently, even though I would have liked more time, I am aware that when you are working in the media industry you might not even have as much time as we had. This has prepared me for when I leave university.  I have also been more assertive with advertising my work and emailing people in order for them to participate in my documentary. One of the biggest things I have learnt in this module is that if you do not ask, you do not get.

In terms of my proposal I would have liked if the images and videos that I found on the internet were clear, as the blurriness of these videos gave my proposal an amateur feel to it and took away the professionalism of it. I did not really want to talk in front of the camera however I believe that this might have been a better approach as it would have shown more of my passion towards the projects. I do like the way the proposal came out thought as it is simple, clear and straight to the point.

I have definitely challenged myself with documentary as it is very different from the other documentaries that I have created. I have more contributors in this film. I have already created a buzz around this documentary which is something that I failed to do with my other ones, and I chose to focus on one character in one area. I believe that getting this documentary to appeal to a wide audience will be my true challenge.

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Proposal

Anita Kaur – FMP Proposal (Unity in the Community) from Anita Kaur on Vimeo.

Proposal Bibliography 

BBC Midlands Today (2016) ‘Birmingham: Hector Pinkney MBE has retired from Handsworth library (Mr. Handsworth)’. inYouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM6ACigbUvE&t=122s&gt; [12 January 2017]
Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing (2012) ‘Marley trailer’. on YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvNlAZ3xqwI&gt; [12 January 2017]
Nathalie Basoska (2015) ‘The little things – homeless in New York city -sho’. on YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5L2vX3oAlY&gt; [11 January 2017]
No Copyright Music (2017) ‘Acoustic Folk Instrumental – Hyde Free Instrumentals’. on youtube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKdXVnaHfo8&gt; [12 January 2017]

Film Research/Inspiration

Over the course of 1st term I have looked for stylistic inspiration for my documentary. I came across a documentary that I watched in my second year at university. This documentary inspired me through the visuals, message and overall meaning of the film. This film was Marley directed by Kevin Macdonald (2012). I found this to be inspiring as it is a biographic, character based documentary just like mine is. It has a mixture of observational footage and archive footage. This is something that I thought worked well together and is something that I want to explore in my documentary. Finding the perfect balance between these two is very important. What interested me in terms of the visuals is the filler shots. Many of the filler shots are of Bob Marley’s hometown in Jamaica and the people that reside there. I found this to be extremely interesting as personally I saw this a way to communicate to the audience that Bob used to live like these people that are being shown. This gives more of an inviting feel to the documentary and makes it connect with the audience on a personal level.

Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing (2012)

As Bob is no longer alive, archive footage played a big part in exploring his relationships and his history. The visuals are also grainy which gives a raw and authentic feel to the documentary. As a filmmaker I am always trying to make the visuals look clear, however this documentary has taught me that having clean visuals is not always the best way to go. In terms of archive footage, it is okay if it is a little grainy as this just shows the age and the authenticity of the images/videos. Some similar films that share this concept of raw footage is Amy (2015) and Senna (2010) both directed by my favourite director, Asif Kapadia. These documentaries are made up of purely archive footage. During my research for my summer task which can be found HERE. Kapadia states that he will shoot on anything, the only thing that matters to him is the story and if it’s engaging enough for the audience. I found this to be very interesting and inspiring.

Universal Pictures UK (2011)

In terms of the interview styles, I would like my documentary to have sit down interviews just like they have in Marley. I like the fact they used real locations instead of having a black backdrop which some documentaries have used. I think that is looks more real and it also makes the individual feel more comfortable if they are in an environment that they are familiar with. For my documentary I want to shoot the interviews in real locations as I believe that this reveals more about the character that is being interviewed

Another documentary that I looked into is a student documentary which goes by the name of “The Little Things” which focuses upon a homeless man and his experiences in society. This is filmed in an observational style as most of the shots are him just walking around the street, however this documentary has some really interesting and stylistic shots. For example, when we can see his reflection in the puddle on the floor. This gave me ideas in terms of my shot list and the kind of angles that I want for my documentary. After watching this documentary I realised that I have the freedom to be creative with my documentary and produce something that is visually striking. Although this documentary is simple, it still gets the message across in a visual way. My favourite shot from this documentary is when the individual, who this documentary is about is staring right at the camera. This connects him to audience. This makes the audience feel a part of the documentary and make us think he is addressing us personally. I think this was a nice touch among the rest of the observational footage.

Nathalie Basoska (2015)

While watching other documentaries I realised that I do not need to be limited to one mode or style, I can be creative with all styles as majority of the documentaries have a mixture of both expository and observational footage despite them two styles being polar opposites. I feel as though I can create something that is creative, interesting and engaging using these documentaries as inspiration.

Bibliography

Magnolia Pictures & Magnet Releasing (2012) ‘Marley trailer’. in YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvNlAZ3xqwI&gt; [12 January 2017]
Nathalie Basoska (2015) ‘The little things – homeless in New York city -sho’. on YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5L2vX3oAlY&gt; [11 January 2017]
Universal Pictures UK (2011) ‘Senna – official UK trailer’. in YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOQLeqRcgKc&gt; [11 January 2017]

 

360MC CW2 R&D – Primary Research

As my FMP is going to be about Handsworth I thought it was a good idea to construct a survey about the area of Handsworth and what people who live in the area think about it. I did this on Survey Monkey (2017) and posted it on various different groups and social media. It even got a share!

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-19-05-20      screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-19-04-23

I asked a total of 9 questions. Which can be found HERE. Many of the results that I got back were expected. I chose to make this survey because I wanted to find out what people in Handsworth thought about the area, the representation in handsworth and the media’s influence in this. I got a overwhelming response with 58 people taking this survey.

Here are some of the responses that stood out to me

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-18-02-07

According to these results despite what the media says, people who live in handsworth think it is a good place to live in. The next question, was to elaborate on their previous answer.

Please explain your answer.

  • “I have grown up here and have never faced any problems”.
  • “Over the years we have had many different nationalities move in who don’t care for the environment as previous inhabitants. rubbish and litter is a big problem. crime rates are high in handsworth aswell as unemployment and poverty levels”.
  • “Despite its past, it is a pleasant place to live. With many communities having all sorts of issues the ones in Handsworth do not detract from it’s vibrant people”.
  • “It has diversity and culture all different communities live together”.
  • “It doesn’t exactly feel like the safest area, the stigma and media around it is always negative, however I think handsworth has a lot of history and culture to show however isn’t necessarily given the option to do so as it’s overlooked by many more negative aspects of the area”.
  • “The place has gone downhill. Not looked after. Becoming forgotten”.
  • “Great sense of community, good facilities, and culture”.

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-18-14-53It is evident that the Handsworth locals think that the media portrays handsworth in a negative light. The next question, was to elaborate on their previous answer.

Please explain your answer.

  • “Mostly because people from outside come into the area to commit crimes. Sadly this is probably because a lot of drug dealers still live in the area, but when you look at the stabbings/shootings in Handsworth most are committed by residents of other areas”.
  • “Handsworth has a bad reputation because of both the past history that people never forget. We need to learn to move forward as a Community”.
  • “The riots from the 80s tarnished the area plus gang related violence in the past causes issues”.
  • “Constant articles regarding crime in the area and rarely any positive stories”.
  • “Most people are afraid of Handsworth or to walk through Handsworth. Assumptions are made on the people who live there”.
  • “They tarnish the area as a no go area. There is crime and burglaries everywhere even in posh areas like Sutton Coldfield and Solihull”.
  • “When you tell someone you live in Handsworth their reaction is clear that they don’t think handsworth is a great area to live in, this is because of the bad representation the media gives, if all the positives were also shown in media, they would probably outweigh the bad”.
  • “The only time I hear about Handsworth in the news is when someone has been killed. When I tell people where I’m from I usually get a negative reaction. Many people make jokes about me needing to carry weapons with me because I’m from Handsworth”.

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-18-25-44screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-18-25-49

From these results it is evident that media hardly reports any good news about Handsworth and continuously post negative news about the area.

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-18-25-56

Please explain your answer

  • “The ‘people’ are really nice and caring. We all sorts of know each other. Most people are well mannered and respectful”.
  • “Handsworth holds so much hidden Heritage and the people around us are amazing
  • All is not what it seems or how the press makes out. Great houses and green spaces. People are neighbourly”.
  • “Even though the place is messy I do feel that many of the people that live here are friendly and community focused. These people seem to be individuals And families that have lived in the area for a long time”.
  • “There are many better areas that have lower levels of crime”.
  • “I love it here but I wouldn’t recommend it to people who don’t understand the people and tough nature of the place. I’m not saying it in regards to prostitution, crime or drugs I’m talking about the fight in the people to tackle and build what little they have everyday”.
  • “I feel unsafe in handsworth”.
  • “I think it would be scary for somebody who does not know the area as such”.

From the results I received there was a mixture of responses, however majority of the people that took the survey thought that Handsworth has a bad representation in the media. Majority of the people thought that the area is not is not as bad a the media make it out to be, and they actually like living in the area. This helped me understand what people who lived in the area thought as I though it it was important to gain insight into this before I make my documentary.

Handsworth Films

I believe that there are not many documentaries about the small “neighbourhoods” even though these “neighbourhoods” are rich in history and culture. I have seen documentaries about Birmingham as a whole but hardly anything on the small areas.  I have conducted some secondary research into the documentaries/short films that have been filmed or are based on Handsworth. As suspected these films deal with criminal activities, gang violence and drugs. Some of the films/documentaries I have looked into are:

Handsworth Songs

Eric Sasono (2014)

One Mile Away

Volta VOD (2015)

One Day

Southbank Centre (2010)

These are the only 3 films that I could find. These films are all filmed in Handsworth, they all feature black males and they all feature some kind of gang violence. Where are the documentaries that paint Handsworth in a positive light? The media have create this dominant discourse to paint Handsworth in a negative light. A place where there is constant violence, a place that is dangerous, a place that is not safe. That is just the beginning. The news articles also represent Handsworth in a negative light.

I want to challenge this stereotype. I want to paint Handsworth in a positive light and focus on the good aspects of the area, as I believe there has been a unfair representation of the Handsworth area in the mainstream news.

Bibilography

Authi, J. (2016) ‘Man fights for life after double shooting in Handsworth street’ [online] available from <http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/man-fights-life-after-double-10680286&gt; [5 January 2017]
BBC (2016) ‘Man’s body found in Handsworth ‘unexplained’ death’. BBC Birmingham & Black Country [online] 23 August. available from <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-37171022&gt; [5 January 2017]
Eric Sasono (2014) ‘Montage in Handsworth songs’. in YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrR5Byjmf9I&gt; [6 January 2017]
Hurst, B. (2016) ‘Watch: 30 men in mass brawl in Handsworth street’. in Midlands News [online] birminghammail. available from <http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/watch-30-men-mass-brawl-12270665&gt; [5 January 2017]
Hurst, B. and Tyler, J. (2016) ‘Man stabbed to death in Birmingham park – updates from the scene’. in Midlands News [online] birminghammail. available from <http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/replay-man-stabbed-death-waverhill-11494106&gt; [6 January 2017]
Layton, J. (2015) ‘Police launch murder probe after man is stabbed to death in Birmingham’ [online] available from <http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/handsworth-murder-man-dies-another-5796724&gt; [6 January 2017]
McCarthy, R. (2015) ‘Teenagers murdered man in street in ‘chilling’ act of random violence’ [online] available from <http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/teenagers-murdered-man-street-chilling-10599690&gt; [6 January 2017]
Southbank Centre (2010) ‘1 day – trailer’. in YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwqwkM7w-sU&gt; [6 January 2017]
Volta VOD (2015) ‘One mile away official trailer’. in YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVfzO2jBmyg&t=1s&gt; [5 January 2017]

360MC CW2 – R&D

Jamaica

flag_of_jamaica-svg

  • Jamaica is a mountainous Caribbean island just south of Cuba.
  • Columbus landed there in 1494, and the Spanish soon brought in slaves as the native Arawak Indians died out.
  • Today more than 90 percent of the population is of African descent.
  • The British seized the island in 1655, granting independence in 1962.

Facts 

  • Population:2,666,000
  • Capital:Kingston; 575,000
  • Area:10,991 square kilometers
  • Language:English, patois English
  • Religion:Protestant, Roman Catholic, other spiritual beliefs
  • Currency:Jamaican dollar
  • Life Expectancy:75

(Society 2016)

  • Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean (4,213 square miles, 146 miles from east to west.
  • The Tainos, who came from South America over 1000 years BC, are considered to be our original inhabitants.
  • They spoke the Arawak language and called the island Xaymaca … land of wood and water.
  • In 1962 Jamaica gained independence from Britain, but has remained a part of the British Commonwealth, and maintains the Queen as Head of State.

(Jamaica-No-Problem 2010)

  • Music plays a big part in the Jamaica culture
  • Jamaica culture can be consumed all around the world, for example Jamaica music, art, literature and food.

Handsworth

handsworth-map-copy.jpg

  • The Handsworth neighbourhood (encapsulating the Lozells and East Handsworth ward) is located just over 2 kilometres north of Birmingham City Centre.
  • It is one of the most densely populated areas of Birmingham.
  • Housing is mainly in older terraces.
  • The neighbourhood has a long history of migration where old migrants from areas such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, the Caribbean and Africa outnumber new, and with recent immigration adding to the diversity of the neighbourhood.
  • Low income and unemployment are particular problems, with many dependent on benefits.
  • The Asian ethnic group constitutes 60% of the total population. The next largest ethnic minority group is Black (22%), followed by the White population (12%) and then Mixed / other ethnic group (3% each). 682 and 497 individuals respectively).

(UPWEB 2015)

Riots

handsworth-riots-7

  •  On September 9, 1985 racial tension and other community problems finally boiled over in the Lozells/Handsworth area.
  • The motives were said to be related to racial tension and inner-city deprivation, a distrust of the police and authority
  • Hundreds of people attacked police and property, looting and smashing, even setting off fire bombs.Two brothers Kassamali Moledina, 38, and his 44-year-old brother Amirali) were burnt to death in the post office that they ran.
  • Before the riots Handsworth had been considered to be a good example of successful community policing, though according to historians, local Black British youths later disputed the claim that relations between them and the police had been amicable: around 40% of them had been stopped and searched over the previous 12 months.

(ITV 2015)

Dojo Community Project 

delores_and_hector_pinkney

  • Dojo Community project has delivered community services in and around Handsworth since the 1960s
  • It was conceived and developed by Mrs Mavis Pinkney (Hector’s Mother) working from her own home in Handsworth.
  • In the 1980s as a response to growing concerns for the well being of elders in the community, the organisation broadened its attention towards the wider community, developing a keep-fit program for all ages including the elders, the community run and a range of social, educational, and training programs.
  • Over the past 50 years Dojo Community project has developed and delivered a number of high quality programs, designed to engage the local community and address issues of local need.

(Dojo n.d)

Portrayal of Black People in the Media

  • Negative representations of black males are readily visible and conveyed to the public through the news, film, music videos, reality television and other programming and forms of media.
  • The typical roles are all too often the black sidekick of a white protagonist, for example, the token black person, the comedic relief, the athlete, the over-sexed ladies’ man, the absentee father or, most damaging, the violent black man as drug-dealing criminal and gangster thug.
  • Higher rates of poverty, homicide, unemployment, and over involvement in the criminal system.
(Smith 2013)
  • Stereotypes of blacks as lazy, stupid, foolish, cowardly, submissive, irresponsible, childish, violent, sub-human, and animal-like, are rampant in today’s society. These degrading stereotypes are reinforced and enhanced by the negative portrayal of blacks in the media.
  • Black characters have appeared in American films since the beginning of the industry in 1 888. But blacks weren’t even hired to portray blacks in early works. Instead, white actors and actresses were hired to portray the characters while in “blackface.” By refusing to hire black actors to portray black characters, demeaning stereotypes were being created as blacks were presented in an unfavorable light. In addition, blacks were purposely portrayed in films with negative stereotypes that reinforced white supremacy over blacks. This has had a tremendous effect on our society’s view of blacks since motion pictures have had more of an impact on the public mind than any other entertainment medium in the last ninety years.

(Horton, Price, and Brown 1998)

Handsworth Representation

We are so used to seeing negative things in the media about Handsworth, which makes us think it is a bad place to live. When I tell people I am from handsworth, they either point out that a lot crimes happen there or they joke about me carrying a gun or knife and refer to it as a “rough area” or the “ghetto”. The media has created this dominant discourse by sharing stories of crimes that have happened in Handsworth.  As mentioned before, Handsworth had been considered to be a good example of successful community policing before the riots. Personally for me to live in handsworth, I can honestly say I always hear negative stories about the area and hardly anything positive. Many people state that there are a lot of “chavs” in Handsworth too. During my research of looking into statistics I found that these statistics were focusing on the negatives of Handsworth. For example:

  • In overall terms the health of residents in Handsworth is worse than the average for England across a whole range of indicators. In particular, Infant mortality rates are higher than the national average and there is a high incidence of respiratory illnesses and heart disease.
  • Teenage pregnancies are also a problem.
  • Unemployment is  a problem in the Handsworth area.
  • Gang culture is dominant in the Handsworth area

(UPWEB 2015)

With my FMP I do want to show the positive side to handsworth and the good aspects of the community. We are so used to seeing these negative portrayals of Handsworth, I want to share something new and look at it from a different perspective by showing Handsworth and Black people in a positive light.

Bibliography 

Dojo (n.d.) Sponsorship informationno [online] available from <https://dojoproject.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/sponsorship-information.pdf&gt; [5 January 2017]
Horton, Y., Price, R., and Brown, E. (1998) PORTRAYAL OF MINORITIES IN THE FILM, MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES [online] available from <https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/poverty_prejudice/mediarace/portrayal.htm&gt; [4 January 2017]
ITV (2015) The 1985 Handsworth riots: 30 years on [online] available from <http://www.itv.com/news/central/2015-09-09/the-1985-handsworth-riots-30-years-on/&gt; [5 January 2017]
Jamaica-No-Problem, 2014 (2010) About Jamaica – culture, history, geography, and more [online] available from <http://www.jamaica-no-problem.com/about-jamaica.html#sthash.Dknxsa8f.dpbs&gt; [4 January 2017]
Smith, D. T. (2013) ‘Images of black males in popular media’. Huffington Post [online] 14 March. available from <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/darron-t-smith-phd/black-men-media_b_2844990.html&gt; [4 January 2017]
Society, N. G. (2016) Jamaica facts, Jamaica flag — national geographic [online] available from <http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/jamaica-facts/&gt; [4 January 2017]
UPWEB (2015) Handsworth [online] available from <http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/upweb/partner-countries/united-kingdom/handsworth-area.aspx&gt; [5 January 2017]